Chic&Craft is an on-line training specially designed for people with mental health issues which aims to re-use and recycle second-hand clothes and waste materials to create a unique European fashion brand where hand-craft designs and original creations play a major role.
Hand-craft is a therapeutic activity; through crafts, people can express themselves in a safe, non-threatening manner, which may be easier than sharing their internal feelings verbally. Inspired by this way of understanding the world, a complete set of training modules has been created including the most frequently used fashion design techniques, creative ideas to implement with training groups and empowerment exercises based on peer support to train transversal abilities as communication, team working, motivation, self-esteem, leadership or concentration.
Around 50 people with severe and prolonged mental illness have been trained in five different pilot experiences in Spain, Slovenia, Germany, Greece and Lithuania during six months. Ten trainers from these countries have been directly trained in an intensive training in Spain and they were involved in the testing phase. Feedback from these experiences has been really useful to improve the quality of the teaching materials and, hopefully, will inspire other organizations to reproduce the experience in the future, thus benefiting more people amongst Europe.
. Some of the products have been sold during fairs, in the centres of the partners and even in pop-up shops opened to show all the things that the people with psychic discomfort can do. These activities were not only a business opportunity but also funny and positive anti-stigma actions that show the community the potential, creativity and valuable skills that people living with mental illness have.
Chic&Craft is an explosive mix of creativity, imagination, artistic expression, responsibility, recovery, communication, team building, autonomy and entrepreneurship. Their hands, their willingness to learn and work, together with some support, are all they need to change their world.